We all now know and realise that Creativity is crucial to our business’ success.

There’s potential for creativity everywhere. Every business needs to be looking for creativity in everything it does, not just the product but how you deliver the product, how you market it and how you interact with customers. Creativity is a business survival skill. Without creativity, you are standing still–and that means you’re losing ground. Lose enough ground, and your business will die.

How can you up your creativity?

-Ask yourself how things really are–and honestly answer that question. Often people/management see only what they want to see. That doesn’t mean that you become pessimistic. Everyone needs a dream, but you must understand reality and what you need to do to succeed.
-Don’t overestimate your product or service,
-Don’t underestimate your competitors, and
-Never exaggerate consumer demand for what you’re doing.

That leads to delusion, not creativity.

-Creativity flows where there’s conflict and tension that puts people on edge. That does not mean “war zone”, but it would be good to have a workplace where people can speak their minds–even when it ruffles feathers. Don’t put too much emphasis on harmony–that can undermine the commitment to creativity.
-Humor can foster creativity. Humor peels away hypocricy, and what makes us laugh often is seeing how things are screwed up–then, sometimes, seeing how we can fix them.
-Give a personal touch to the “cubicle”–family photos, books–things that make you feel at home–and where good ideas come into your head.
-Conformity to the status quo is an enemy of creativity. Empty your mind–pushing out the ideas you “know” to be true. The more successful a businessperson is, the more resistance there can be to doing this. But if you don’t, you cannot be really creative.
-Carry a notebook. You never know when an idea will occur to you–an idea for a new business or a better way of doing what you’re presently doing. As you drive, watch TV, eat lunch, ideas pop into your head. Unless you write them down, you will not remember them. (Oh! And when you are driving and you have an idea….don’t forget to pull over!)
-Wherever you go, really pay attention. Most of us navigate through our world on autopilot, but when we start paying attention–when we start questioning what we are seeing and why–good ideas can occur to us. (Somewhat like the “Earthworm Observation” on the right top corner of my blog.)
-Lots of ideas come up when you meet new people. Somebody will say “I wish a company did this!” and Bingo! an idea for a business comes to you.
-For every sacred cow, there is an opposite idea, and, sometimes, exploring the opposite is where entrepreneurs will find the best ideas. Ask yourself how you can put a new twist on an old product or service. Sometimes the most creative uses literally smash the product and come up with something entirely new.
-Persistent elaboration of an idea is what finally yields a commercial creative success.
-We do the same things, the same way, every day. We need to feel a little uncomfortable–we need to experience new things–to get creative sparks. Anything we do that forces us out of our normal environment will let us see things in new, different ways.

How do you turn ideas into viable business plans?

-Don’t become self-satisfied just because an idea seems good on paper. Test every good idea against what the marketplace needs and wants.
-Continually criticize/refine your own ideas. The creative process frequently involves going beyond the first idea. Uncreative people commonly marry the first good idea that comes along. But creative people detach from their ideas and refine them. The more ideas, the better.

In the end, the real secret to creativity is practice. The more we do it, the better we get. Creativity can be developed in all of us–if we keep questioning what we see and keep looking for creative solutions and ideas. Practice is why the truly creative stay truly creative.